You both incline toward urbanity’s buzz, but for this special trip, your long-awaited honeymoon you agreed — it had to be Lake Como, a storied destination in northern Italy. You did think she had been a little too enthusiastic when she told you George Clooney lived there. Surely that isn’t why she wanted to visit? In the hopes of spotting him from a distance? Nah, you’re more secure than that. Besides, she can George-spot all she wants because you’ll be fantasizing about seeing (and maybe driving) Ferraris and Lamborghinis, both car brands made in the nearby region of Emilia Romagna. The streets that encircle Lake Como are literally made for racing around in such vehicles. Just ask James Bond.
Thus, motivated, you go ahead and make honeymoon plans to explore this Y-shaped lake, a refuge for knackered humans since the Roman times. You’ve been looking at photos for months, emboldened by the dream. When at last you arrive, the two of you look one another in the eyes — that way you do — and nod. You’ve made the right decision. Pine-trees mottle the mountains that soar right beside the lake. She points out that like a mirror, the water reflects the clouds and the cobalt sky. “It’s something Michelangelo would paint,” she says. But you’re busy concentrating on the serpentine road that undulates through tunnels and stately homes along the lake. You’re driving … wait for it … a red Ferrari. That was her surprise. She did you a solid, arranged its rental through a VIP outfitter, who met you at the airport, keys and instructions in hand. “Don’t go too fast!” He had said, somewhat facetiously, because, let’s face it — nobody drives a Ferrari slowly. You burst out of the parking lot faster than you meant to do, regardless. She giggles. You are living the dream.
Meanwhile, she doesn’t care about the car at all. She’s sighing with delight as you pass through tiny, characteristic villages — each one right out of a painting from the Uffizi Gallery. As you whip around curves, she tells you to slow down just bit so she can look at the glimmering lake. She opens the window to sniff the air. Well known for its windsurfing opportunities, sexy vintage speedboats and al fresco, waterside cafes, Lake Como lives up to your expectations. “You know, lots of A-listers come here,” she says dreamily. “Not just George (she looks at you side-eyed), but Versace, Richard Branson, Madonna — really everyone who’s anyone!” You slow down in a village, the sign says Varenna. “We’re somebody,” you say. You kiss her, before roaring off to further explore. You still haven’t figured out how to accelerate smoothly. No worries, you’ll get there.
At last, you check into honeymoon home-base: the lavish Grand Hotel Tremezzo, an Art Nouveau palace right on the water, which was a favorite haunt of Greta Garbo. With abundant history, the grand hotel, manages to feel contemporary and stylish, as well as historical and elegant. The first thing you see is the immense, tempting swimming pool that seems to hover atop Lake Como’s waves. As she gazes, the bellmen ask for the keys to your Ferrari. You balk — but she grabs the keys and hands them to the kindly men, as other chic fellows grab your suitcases and direct you into the glamorous hotel. As you check in, you see her twirling in happiness, taking it all in. But, when you go upstairs to your room, you drop your jaws simultaneously. You’ve been upgraded to a roof-top, corner suite — it’s spacious, modern, with an opulent bathroom and a huge terrace, complete with a hot tub. “We’ll never leave. They’ll have to deliver all our meals,” she says, changing into her bikini to test the water.
During your romantic stay, you borrow Grand Hotel Tremezzo’s red, Alfa Romeo Spider (loanable to all motor heads). You tell her that you must compare it to the Ferrari, and she understands. But, even more magical, you go out on a mahogany-sided, vintage RUY boat to explore Lake Como from the water. The outing comes with a skipper and guide, and you have the chance to visit such venerable villas as Villa del Balbianello, an ornate 16th-century palazzo, which anchors an island mid-lake. Portions of Star Wars II Attack of the Clones and Casino Royal were filmed here. By now, neither of you care too much about cars or movie stars. The only story that matters is the one you’re making right now, together, at Grand Hotel Tremezzo on Lake Como.